Overview of Illinois Retirement Tax Friendliness
Illinois exempts nearly all retirement income from taxation, including Social Security retirement benefits, pension income and income from retirement savings accounts. However, the state has some of the highest property and sales taxes in the country.
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- Our Tax Expert
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
Illinois Retirement Taxes
Thinking about a retirement in the Land of Lincoln? Whether you’re settling down in Chicago, Peoria or Springfield, you’ll want to know about the taxes paid by Illinois retirees.
The state exempts nearly all retirement income from taxation, but that doesn’t mean an Illinois retirement will be tax-free. The state has some of the highest property and sales taxes in the country.
A financial advisor in Illinois can help you plan for retirement and other financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, insurance and estate planning, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
Is Illinois tax-friendly for retirees?
Most, but not all, retirees will find Illinois to be tax-friendly. The state has full deductions for Social Security, pension income and income from retirement savings accounts, including IRAs. In other words, retirees who are not working won't be subject to the state's 4.95% flat income tax rate.
However, retirees in Illinois do pay other types of taxes, namely the state’s sales and property taxes. The average state and local sales tax rate is 8.8%, while the average effective property tax rate is 2.16%. Illinois also has its own estate tax.
Is Social Security taxable in Illinois?
When filling out an Illinois income tax return, all Social Security income can be subtracted from total income, as it is not taxed.
Are other forms of retirement income taxable in Illinois?
Just as Social Security income can be subtracted from total income, so too can other forms of retirement income. Deductions are allowed for all income from pensions, whether public or private, and income from retirement savings accounts. So, for example, if you withdraw $20,000 from an IRA over the course of a year, that money is not taxed at the state level.
How high are property taxes in Illinois?
The average effective property tax rate in Illinois is 2.16%, the-second highest rate of any state. That means a homeowner in Illinois can expect to pay about $2,160 in annual property taxes per $100,000 in home value. That will vary by location of course, but seniors who intend to buy property in Illinois for their retirement should plan on paying significant taxes on that property.
What is the Illinois homestead exemption?
The Illinois general homestead exemption is available to homeowners who's home is their primary residence. The exemption is equal to the difference between the property’s current equalized assessed value (EAV) and the EAV in 1977, up to a maximum of $6,000. In Cook County, the maximum is $10,000, though. This can lead to savings of around $500 to $1,000, depending on the tax rate in your area.
Persons 65 years of age and older can also claim the senior citizen homestead exemption. This is equal to $5,000 off your home's EAV ($8,000 in Cook County). It is currently available to homeowners with a total household income of less than $65,000.
How high are sales taxes in Illinois?
Sales taxes in Illinois are quite high, as the state rate is 6.25%. Additionally, counties and cities collect their own taxes, averaging 2.55% across the entire state. The total rate, taking the state and average local rates into account, is 8.8%. This is one of the highest in the U.S.
Additionally, both food and medicine are taxed in Illinois, albeit at lower rates than the above. The statewide rate on these items is 1%, in addition to local rates as high as 1.25%. So seniors can expect to spend up to 2.25% on taxes at the grocery store and the pharmacy.
What other Illinois taxes should I be concerned about?
Illinois has an estate tax, with the exemption being $4 million, which is lower than the 2021 federal exemption of $11.7 million. That means estates that do not owe federal estate tax may still owe Illinois estate tax, at rates as high as 16%. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind if you plan on leaving behind a large inheritance for your loved ones.
Most Tax Friendly Places for Retirees
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country with tax policies that are most favorable to retirees. Zoom between states and the national map to see the most tax-friendly places in each area of the country.
Methodology To find the most tax friendly places for retirees, our study analyzed how the tax policies of each city would impact a theoretical retiree with an annual income of $50,000. Our analysis assumes a retiree receiving $15,000 from Social Security benefits, $10,000 from a private pension, $10,000 in wages and $15,000 from a retirement savings account like a 401(k) or IRA.
To calculate the expected income tax this person would pay in each location, we applied the relevant deductions and exemptions. This included the standard deduction, personal exemption and deductions for each specific type of retirement income. We then calculated how much this person would pay in income tax at federal, state, county and local levels.
We calculated the effective property tax rate by dividing median property tax paid by median home value for each city.
In order to determine sales tax burden we estimated that 35% of take-home (after-tax) pay is spent on taxable goods. We multiplied the average sales tax rate for a city by the household income after subtracting income tax. This product is then multiplied by 35% to estimate the sales tax paid.
For fuel taxes, we first distributed statewide vehicle miles traveled to the city level using the number of vehicles in each county. We then calculated miles driven per capita in each city. Using the nationwide average fuel economy, we calculated the average gallons of gas used per capita in each city and multiplied that by the fuel tax.
For each city we determined whether or not Social Security income was taxable.
Finally, we created an overall index weighted to best capture the taxes that most affect retirees. The income tax category made up 40% of the index, property taxes accounted for 30%, sales taxes 20% and fuel taxes 10%.
Sources: Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, state websites, local government websites, US Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey, Avalara, American Petroleum Institute, GasBuddy, UMTRI, Federal Highway Administration